The Center for Advanced Brain Imaging is a 6000 square foot facility dedicated to understanding brain function. The center is located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta.

MRI Scanner

The center houses a Siemens Magnetom Prismafit 3 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging system configured with up to 64 receiver channels comprised of up to 204 coil elements with up to 128 independent RF channels.  It has a 60 cm bore diameter and a 50x50x50 cm3 imaging field of view.  It offers Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) with up to 256 directions, Diffusion Spectrum Imaging (DSI) with up to 514 diffusion directions with XR 80/200, fully integrated functional MRI/DTI evaluation, enhanced iPAT performance, powerful shimming, TimTX TrueShape and syngo ZOOMit with high resolution Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) and long-term signal stability for demanding research sequences.

The main specifications of the Prisma system are listed below.

  • Gradient performance: 80 mT/m @ 200 T/m/s simultaneously, on all three axes (double that of Siemens Trio’s 40mT/m) In addition, the system comes with Ultra High-performance cooling, reduced vibrations and acoustic noise, increased SNR and long-term stability.
  • Transmit signal architecture: Tim TX Trueform enables uniform RF distribution specific to the anatomy. New parallel transmit capability with TimTX TrueShape allows for selective excitation to highlight regions, organs or features of an organ leading to increased image quality and faster scanning. A new application syngo ZOOMit- the first zoom function in MRI is now available based on this technology.
  • Receive signal architecture: New Tim 4G RF system with up to 128 independent channels for faster imaging and higher SNR, Dual –Density Signal Transfer technology with highest coil element density for higher SNR, fully digital transmit and receive with DirectRF for higher SNR and improved RF stability, Real-time feedback loop for excellent long-term stability. For brain imaging, we have 20 Channel and 32 Channel array receive head coils.
  • Computer system: The computer system includes the following components:
    • 2 Intel Xeon Multi-Core Processors
    • Main memory (RAM): ≥ 48 GB,
    • Hard disk for raw data: ≥ 3 x 300 GB
    • Hard disk for system software: ≥ 300 GB
  • The high-end image reconstruction computer offers faster processing power for intensive algorithms, high amount of data storage for large data sets acquired over long-term measurements, a large amount of main memory for fast processing of measurement data, and two general purpose graphic processing units for highly intensive computational calculations. The high-end image reconstruction computer has the following specifications:
    • 2x Intel W5690 (hexacore) processors 3.46 GHz
    • 128 GB Main Memory (RAM)
    • 750 GB Hard disk for raw data
    • 100 GB Hard disk for system software
    • CUDA compatible NVidia Tesla K80 and Quadro P5000 GPUs
  • Application packages: Advanced Diffusion, Arterial Spin labeling 2D/3D, Simultaneous Multi- Slice (SMS) EPI, Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI), Advanced Cardiac Package. We also have acquired state of the art EPI, ASL, Morphometry and Spectroscopy pulse sequences via C2P agreements with University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • Wireless cardiac and respiration monitors for physiological noise removal.
  • Entry to the scanner requires passing through a FerrAlert Halo Traditional metal detectors are triggered by non-ferrous metals such as titanium implants. In contrast, this system specifically detects ferromagnetic material that could interact with the magnetic field. This reduces the chance of false-alarms, and also allows a sensitivity level that would be unsuitable for a conventional metal detector.
  • We have a PST MRI simulator that allows us to acclimatize participants to the confined and loud environment of the MRI scanner. This mock scanner is useful for training children to be comfortable in the scanner, and allows individuals to practice behavioral tasks.
  • Real-time motion detection based on a custom MATLAB script.

Scanner-Compatible Experiment Hardware

  1. We have a BOLDScreen 32” MRI compatible LCD screen for fMRI experiments.
  2. The Avotec Silent Scan 3100 stereo air-conduction headphones allow for audio stimulus delivery as well as participant communication.
  3. The SR Research EyeLink 1000 Plus eyetracker allows us to track eye movements while participants are inside the scanner.
  4. Our PST fiber optic response gloves allow participants to make responses during scanning. Button presses are recorded using a USB output.
  5. The Current Designs fORP response system allows participants to make button presses or use a trackball while in the scanner. These communicate with a computer using USB.

Computing Resources

  1. We have a Red Hat linux cluster running Sun Grid Engine with over 250 compute cores. Users can login to any workstation locally at the center or remotely to the cluster for data access and analysis. We have storage servers hosting ~ 200TB of data with offsite RAID configured backup to ensure data integrity.
  2. We have a NVIDIA Tesla K80 GPU server. Compared to a single CPU, GPU-based computation offers ~200 fold reduction in computational time for diffusion analysis tools such as ‘BEDPOSTX’.
  3. We host a variety of data analysis software such as Matlab, FSL, SPM, AFNI, BrainVoyager, LCModel, MRIcroGL.

Experiment presentation hardware and software

We have stimulus presentation applications such as E-Prime, PsychoPy, Psychtoolbox-MATLAB, and DirectRT. Presentation PC specs include an Intel core i7-8700k processor, SSD drives, 32GB RAM and NVIDIA 1070Ti GPU for seamless presentation of high-end graphics.

Other available equipment

32-CH EEG system, Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation(tDCS) system, Trancranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) system, Brainvision EEG system(MRI-compatible), Biopac physiological recording system (MRI-compatible).